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Blind love: When Tony courts George

Paris, Nov. 19 (AFP): Love, pondered British heartthrob Hugh Grant yesterday, is “loving someone no matter what their faults in a blind and unconditional way, such as the love Tony Blair has for George Bush.”

“That is the purest form of British love today,” he added, on the same day that the US President began his historic visit to Britain.

In France for the launch of his latest film Love Actually, a comedy about love in which he plays the role of a British Prime Minister much like Blair, the 43-year-old star was asked to pin down a definition of British love at a news conference. The mere idea of Britons being in love was “a joke in itself”, he said. “It’s never been a top priority”. They were more interested in their dogs, in golf, in drinking beer or making money.

Would he have enjoyed being Prime Minister' “I couldn’t cope with the responsibility and interest in other people. I have too much interest in myself,” he said. “I have always modelled myself on Caligula, he’s the perfect politician.”

The film, released in the US and due to be screened later this month in Britain, is a two-hour comedy with nine plots spun around romance.

In one of them, Grant-cum-PM develops a crush on a member of the Downing Street household staff, but when the US President comes to town on a visit and also shows interest, the Prime Minister’s jealousy triggers a chill in bilateral relations. Blair has not seen the film yet, Grant said, joking that the Queen might organise a video-pizza-party screening with Bush during his state visit to Britain. But Richard Curtis, who wrote and directed the movie, said Blair had seen his 1999 blockbuster Notting Hill (also starring Grant with Julia Roberts) but had been disappointed that all the characters were losers.

“He wanted to see someone with a proper job,” said Curtis. “So in a way this film was a special order, if you can call the job of a Prime Minister a proper job.” The film is the first directed by Curtis, who also wrote the script for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

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